How to Start a Divorce in Georgia
Provided by HG.org
Individuals who want a divorce in Georgia must follow certain steps to complete the legal process of getting a divorce. They must also take steps to emotionally and financially prepare for this process. Some steps that they should take include:
Consider if Divorce is Warranted
Sometimes people rush into a divorce. However, divorce is an important legal process that severs the relationship between two people in significant ways. By getting a divorce, spouses lose certain rights such as the right to inherit from their spouse or possibly the right to receive Social Security benefits based on their earnings record. Sometimes a person may contact a lawyer to discuss the possibility of getting a divorce but they may not be ready for that, or their marriage may be repaired in other ways. In many states, spouses must split their property equally between them if they get a divorce. They must carefully consider whether they can afford their income and resources being divided. In some situations, the spouses may prefer to stay married but be separated, such as if they need to maintain health insurance or other benefits of marriages. A spouse must carefully consider if this is the path he or she wants to follow before beginning the legal process of getting a divorce.
Before filing for divorce, it is often best for a person to make financial arrangements for impending expenses. Divorcing spouses must be able to support themselves through the pendency of the divorce and possibly after. They may choose to move away and may need funds for a deposit and utilities. Additionally, they must also set aside money for legal fees. Many family law lawyers will require an upfront retainer before taking on a case. This retainer is held in trust to pay for the lawyer’s services as they are rendered. Coming up with these additional funds for expenses may require a person to take on extra work or borrow money from family or friends.
Find a Family Lawyer
Once a person has his or her retainer money, he or she may start contacting lawyers about the next steps. Someone looking to get divorced should look for a lawyer who is experienced in family law matters and who has dealt with the particular issues that will be relevant to the divorce, such as high net worth divorces, military divorces, same-sex divorces or child custody. A person must feel comfortable talking about private details with his or her lawyer, such as his or sex life or spending habits. A lawyer can discuss the steps that will be involved in the divorce process, such as mediation, depositions or hearings.
Cooperate with Your Lawyer
There may be a lot of information that a lawyer needs. He or she must first prepare a petition that establishes the legal grounds for the divorce. A lawyer may ask for documents such as your marriage certificate, employment records and property records so that the lawyer has an understanding of the property issues at stake. Additionally, he or she will want to know how you want custody to be determined.
After the petition is filed and the other spouse is served with the divorce papers, the lawyer may then have to request various documents. The spouse may have to help deliver documents and answer questions as part of the discovery process. This may require the client to quickly respond to their lawyer’s request. Lawyers have to meet important deadlines. If these deadlines are passed, this can adversely affect a spouse’s case.
Follow Your Lawyer’s Advice
Sometimes people may search out advice during a divorce. They may scour the internet for advice. They may ask friends and family for legal advice. However, most of these people are not lawyers. Even if they are, they likely are not familiar with the specific state laws or the individual circumstances involved in your divorce. It is important to follow your own lawyer’s advice. His or her job is to represent your best interests above those of all others. Additionally, lawyers are familiar with the judges and courts where your divorce is pending.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer
If you think you are ready for a divorce in Georgia, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in your area. He or she can file the initial petition to get your divorce case started. He or she can discuss the next steps involved in the divorce process sin your state and represent you through each stage of the process.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.